Batley Bulldogs have been dealt a double injury blow ahead of Sunday’s Kingstone Press Championship Shield clash with Dewsbury Rams.
Centre Chris Ulugia suffered a dislocated shoulder in last week’s defeat to Workington, which will require surgery, while Joe Chandler has also been ruled out for the remainder of the season after damaging knee ligaments.
Coach John Kear said: “Joe suffered the injury in the closing minutes of the Dewsbury game and he will not play again this season, which is a blow as he has been our best and most consistent player.
“We rehabilitated Chris after he initially dislocated his shoulder and he played very well against Dewsbury but dislocated it again last Sunday when making a tackle and it looks like he will now need an operation.
“There have been more injuries this time as the level of rugby is so intense because there’s so much at stake.”
Batley play their first home game of the Super Eights stage on Sunday when neighbours Dewsbury make the trip to Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.
Batley are seeking a win to boost their hopes of a top four finish, while victory for the Rams will guarantee their place in the Championship Shield semi-finals.
Batley ended a four-match competitive losing run against the Rams when they recorded a 16-12 victory at Tetley’s Stadium in the final game of the regular season.
Kear added: “That was a welcome win and has given us confidence going into Sunday but Dewsbury will also feel they have a score to settle.
“It should be a good game and we are hoping for a good crowd too.
“The club are staging our pink weekend, which is for a great cause, and we are hoping people will come out in support.”